Depression and Such


#21

Another very important point about depression: it can seriously affect your cognitive function.

Compared to last week (and probably most of the past 5 years) when I was relatively depressed, I’ve found that I’m picking up on a whole bunch of social signals that I would have been oblivious to before.

So that’s a pretty good reason to expose yourself to more of the highs of social experiences like conventions, even if it costs you a lot of money to do it. It’s a pretty good bet that it might pay itself off as an investment, regardless of whether it’s worth it for the experience itself.


#22

Conventions are not good places for me. I had nervous breakdowns at my last two PAX Easts, my last three Anime Bostons, and my last ConnectiCon. I haven’t been to a con since ConnectiCon 2016, which was my only con that year. Being no longer a gamer nor an anime watcher, ConnectiCon was the last con where I didn’t feel dreadfully out of place, and even it still gave me nasty Fear of Missing Out.


#23

As part of this professional help, have you looked into or tried medication? I only suggest it because I suffer from OCD/anxiety and it has done wonders for me. I understand it’s not for everyone and that the side effects can be quite awful for some, but if you’ve not tried it before, it is at least worth a shot.


#24

Understood.

I had what was basically a nervous breakdown at PAX AUS three years ago, although I pretty much held it together that time. I did a bit of a brain dump back then as well, although I don’t entirely agree with 2014-me.

I’ve since realized (with some input) that a couple of my convention experiences, including the one above, are pretty similar to manic episodes, although often mixed in with a significant degree of anxiety. I’ve had another similar experience more recently, after which I’m basically back to being roughly normal for the first time in a long time.

My current self-model roughly tells me that these episodes correspond to the part of my brain that is dedicated to empathy (c.f. modelling other people) attempting to make up for lost time, and sometimes overcompensating.

If your situation is at all similar (and I see some signs that it is), you might want to try doing something like volunteer work, or more generally stuff that involves helping other people without necessarily needing to make friends with them.


#25

I’m on six different meds.


#26

It’s a bit late to help with that situation, but if it happens at PAX again, don’t forget the AFK lounge, which is a quiet, calm place, staffed with people who are trained to assist with these sorts of situations if you’re feeling stressed or otherwise feel can’t deal for whatever reason.


#27

Yeah, it seems like the gender neutral bathroom idea has spread to most conventions, but I would like to see the AFK room spread as well.


#28

Got through my classes today!


#29

I know you’re not so into anime anymore, but…


#30

My apologies then. You probably don’t appreciate people advising you to do what you’re already doing, so I’m sorry I was one of them.


#31

OK, so after confronting certain realities re. difficulty sleeping and somewhat poor control of my own emotions, I must conclude that my current subjective state may possibly be somewhat tilted towards manic, although perhaps that’s mostly a relative effect thing, i.e. after prolonged periods of depression I’ve probably become worse at handling my own emotions. There is also a huge amount of anxiety in the mix due to the need to make some major decisions in my life right now, so I need to figure out how to separate those factors.

Overall I am still in a much better place, and I can tell, objectively speaking, that my decision-making is still significantly better than that of previous-me, who was stuck in a loop of procrastinating, likely due to setting wrong goals and having insufficient self-knowledge.

Now I just need to find a way to carefully regulate myself down to a more stable and manageable level; the fact that I feel I can trust myself to do this, and trust myself to seek professional help without it interfering with my actual goals, is definitely a good sign.

Simply having these thoughts and expressing them is already calming, so that’s a good sign.


#32

I feel like every time I see someone say they had an epiphany it’s more likely a warning sign than any great revelation. Just my experience dealing with… interesting characters… throughout my life. Narcotics addicts that “figured out” what they wanted to do with their lives in their mid fifties. Teenagers who over the next couple years are revealed to have developed schizophrenia. Or, in my case, just a lot of sleep deprivation.

So… um… what I want to say is just make sure you’re also covering the basics like sleeping, eating, and some kind of physical activity before you run off and join a secret cult or something.


#33

I’ve had a handful of major manic episodes mixed in with all the depressive ones (although I’ve never been diagnosed as anything other than depressive) and a plethora of epiphanies was one of the things I experienced. I assume it’s just part of the general euphoria? Every new bit of insight feels grandiose and like a turning point.

Not to be discouraging or dismissive of anyone else’s experience, but for me any actual lasting improvement has always been slow and in retrospect.

Edit: ‘Plethora of Epiphanies’ has got to be the name of a math-core album, or a close-up magic based one-man show, or something.


#34

All good advice, for sure. My current best model indicates that an epiphany essentially involves subconscious contents of the brain (or part of it) sometimes stuff that quite a lot of processing has gone into, coming to the fore and being accepted or at least acknowledged by the entire brain.


#35

As such, it’s evident that any such thinking should not be wholly trusted, no more than you should trust anything that comes out of your brain.

Brains are known to be deeply irrational at times and must often be starkly confronted with reality in order to function better, especially if anything really important is at stake.


#36

I am not an addict. I have, in the past, been somewhat addicted to video games, and I weaned myself off them in the hope that this would leave me with the motivation to do other things. It wasn’t enough, though.


#37

To give a brief history of epiphanies I’ve had:
“I was depressed up until just now”
-PAX AUS 2013.

“I have (some degree of) social anxiety and am far from immune to irrational thought”
-PAX AUS 2014

“I have been underestimating and undervaluing my own abilities; I am genuinely capable of doing serious and novel research”
-Some time in 2015, during my Master’s, although I’m not sure that it necessarily came as an “epiphany” per se, rather than simply updating on the basis of evidence.

“I was depressed again” + “I have deeply underestimated the scale of some of my basic social needs, such as being accepted by others” + “I am intrinsically motivated by multiple things, some of which are about me and some of which are not” + “I need my career to actually help people, preferably on the largest scale possible”
-introspection, conversations with my brother (who is relatively intelligent and well-informed, although he’s only 18), and interactions on the FRCF over the last week or so.

That last bundle of realizations was not really triggered by any kind of peak experience, but rather arose much more organically via a process of introspection and external input, although it has definitely been accompanied by a very anxious and emotional state nevertheless.

So, while I feel at a deep level how very important it is to be distrustful of my own thinking patterns, my realizations so far mostly check out rather well when I compare them against the evidence from my own history and in the world around me.


#38

I am having some difficulty lately. I have amazing things happening: new job, new house, and I am more than half-way through a pregnancy with a (thus far) healthy and normally developing baby.

However, the downsides are that the new job involves setting up a new office and our head office has not been great with communication, has provided only 30 minutes of training, and is not giving me any clear authority (they want something done and tell me to do it, I immediately start doing it but then they tell me to hold off, then tell me to get the info and they will make the decision, and then they complain that it isn’t done - this exact cycle has happened 7 times in the last two months). The new house needs cosmetic work throughout. Right now, the focus is getting the downstairs apartment redone so we can attract renters who aren’t 80-year old ladies, but I can’t help much because paint fumes, dust/dirt/mold from pulling up the carpets, and the proper cleaning solutions for the cement underneath the carpet are not safe for the fetus even with a respirator, per my OB. The pregnancy itself is having its ups and downs - from hip pain that makes it difficult to move and walk, periods of shortness of breath, going from ravenous one week to a complete loss of appetite the next, exacerbation of my insomnia, swelling for no reason, mood swings that are triggering my cyclothemic disorder and anxiety (both of which have been kept mostly under control with these techniques for the past several years, but those techniques can only do sp much), and I cannot take medication to help manage almost any of these issues. To make it all worse, my dog, Malcolm, passed away last week.

I think that I am keeping it together with reasonably good humor, but any time I express momentary frustration/exhaution/difficulty coping, particularly if it is to do with my pregnancy, at least one friend will functionally accuse me of being crazy. I have even had to delete social media comments from friends along these lines. Yes, I am crazy. I am clinicly crazy. However, I manage and part of the way I manage is venting and then moving on. Is it too much to ask that these judgemental friends recognize that and reconcile what they know of me (that I am not wholly irrational and that I am extremely capable) with the fact that sometimes I need the catharsis of venting without being insulted?


#39

Kate, I think you are doing yourself damage by internalizing the concept that you are “crazy”. The word “crazy” is just another label that people use to describe things they don’t understand. Having a mood disorder does not mean you are “crazy”, it means you have a mood disorder.

It’s quite clearly not too much to ask, but because people are unable or unwilling to imagine what it feels like to be you, they find it much easier to apply a label to you instead.

The only crazy thing I see going on in your post is this:

THAT is crazy, and it’s not your crazy, it’s other people’s.


#40

Also worth reading:


There is also another kind of attribution error which happens more the more you are different or unfamiliar or “outgroup” to someone:

I think the FRCF is quite vulnerable to this when it comes to FRCF outgroups.

Personally, I try to set my “ingroup” label to correspond to all humans, and to some extent all conscious life on Earth, with an “outgroup” label corresponding to very nearly the empty set.